Wilder by Far

A look at life with the Wilder family. Updated most weekends and some vacation days. You can contact me at movingnorth@gmail.com..

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Location: United States

Saturday, December 24, 2005

"Now, you will sit in this chair until lunchtime, with nothing but a cup of coffee at 11!" - The Unexpected Spanish Inquisition, Monty Python

High noon, two days after Solstice. We'll see the Sun at the house sometime in February. Provided Freya can kill the giant wolf that ate it.

A Fairbanks traffic jam generally consists of about three cars. Sometimes five on a bad day. In actuality, you might have to wait four minutes to get on the highway after a UAF Nanook Hockey game lets out.

Yesterday (December 23rd) was, however, an exception.

I went with The Boy to go have some coffee (he takes his black) and then went to the store of all stores, The Home Despot. I bought some tools (The Boy wanted to get a drill press, really, but was assuaged by the band saw) and materials for projects. Life was good. Traffic was normal. Then we headed toward home.

I got there and he and I went to our local post office to pick up mail.

Mail in the lower 48 mainly consisted of the place where you got your bills in the big aluminum box that you shared with the people up and down your street. That’s about as communal as your dumpster. You might see a mail carrier once a month or so. The mail is a minor convenience, and you can imagine life very well without it.

In Alaska, though, the mail is vital. There are an increasing number (just added: Sportsman’s Warehouse, Old Navy, and soon, Barnes and Noble) of stores that you can buy gifts at in Fairbanks, but this still pales in comparison to the selection of items that are available at even a minor strip mall in the lower 48.

In comes the mail. The mail brings us nice things from eToys.com, Amazon.com, and Caseofbeerandducttapeoftheweek.com. Surprisingly, we ordered an item from Amazon that came from New York City that got here in two days. This is a far cry from the 1960’s, when NFL games from the previous Sunday were what was on TV. You can get most things that you’re looking for up here, and for those special items that you need from Outside, well, Amazon.com can bring you a perfectly serviceable baby-cage for The New Boy (okay, the PC term is playpen, but if you’re a parent, you and I both know that we don’t put the kid in a high-walled fortress for his enjoyment.).

The Boy and I went yesterday and mailed some Christmas presents and Christmas cards. I know, I know, waiting until December 23rd to mail this stuff is silly, but (pick only one):

  1. We were delaying our Christmas cards until the vote on drilling for sweet, sweet oil in ANWR was over,
  2. We thought it was November 23rd,
  3. A dark, evil spirit (Ted Kennedy) held us captive and we couldn’t mail them until two days before Christmas, or,
  4. We just got around to doing it.

So, The Boy and I stood in a line at the local post office for about 15 minutes. The people were jovial and nice. The post office personnel were jovial and nice. It felt wonderful.

We don’t get our food (yet) from Foodforthewilders.com, so off into Fairbanks the entire troop of us went. And, for the first time in Fairbanks I had to deal with traffic. It took us 10 minutes to find a parking space at Safeway. At Safeway! Since the parking lot is covered with snow, people do their very best to park in some sort of row structure, but the darn lines of cars wiggle back and forth like Carmen Electra on a trampoline. We got one of the last carts, and got our Christmas ham, our Christmas cookies, our Christmas potatoes, and our Christmas beer. The cart was so full we had foot stacked on either side of The New Boy. The Mrs. told me not to put frozen items next to him, but, I figured he was insulated okay. I moved the frozen peas when his gums started to chatter.

We went to the line to check out, and the clerk knew The Boy by name and spent time talking to him, despite the obvious frazzle the flood of customers had put in her frizzle. She even had a piece of candy for him.

That’s Fairbanks. The clerks recognize you. By name.

The trip out was slow. We spent about 10 minutes at one intersection before finally getting to the highway, and home.

Viewing Christmas through the eyes of a five year old is magical! Now, The Boy is crawling out of his skin, wanting Christmas to come. Perhaps I should switch him to decaf.


Blogger Jane said...

I've been enjoying your blog for a wee while now.

I hope that you all have a lovely peaceful Christmas

1:19 PM  
Blogger Woofwoof said...

Just nozy, but is that one of those Mexican fireplaces you have in the backyard? You should dust the snow off and have yourself a huge fire. Hope you and your family have a happy and warm Christmas.

3:37 AM  
Blogger the Witch said...

Merry Christmas!

3:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Feliz Navidad!

Well, I hope that your "traffic jam" didn't get you too riled up. That is definitly a plus to living in Alaska. Clerks that recognize you would be nice too, especially if she's cute!

Stay Warm!

5:40 PM  
Blogger Garry Nixon said...

Hooray! All the best, mate. Christmas beer! Hooray!

9:23 PM  
Blogger John said...

Thank you! We've had a wonderful one, and I hope yours is the same . . . or better!

Yeah, we do. Actually, last January when it was about -40F, I burned *a lot* of boxes. Got real hot. Probably -20F.

I hope you and yours have had a wonderful Christmas. Ours was/is warm!

Merry Christmas!!!!

Gracias! Our traffic jam actually brought us back to some memories from the lower 48. We don't miss miles of steel in front of us on a highway.

All the best to you, too! Mayhap someday I'll end up on your side of the pond and I can play some real rugby . . . as far as Christmas beer . . . (burp)

11:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, Enjoyed your blog. Found it rather amusing. Sitting here in Indiana at work, VA Hospital. Thanks Kym and Rob

7:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dunno about the 1960s and the NFL, but in the early 1970s the evening news we got to watch in the Company rec room on Ft Rich was flown-up by airplane from Seattle.

We figured it was like magazines in the dentist's waiting room: there's no such thing as too old, especially if it's "Popular Mechanics".

2:55 AM  
Blogger John said...

Kym and Rob,
Thanks! And I love the road suggestions!

Yup, but I sure would appreciate "Popular Quantum Mechanics". It might have "Make Your Own Home Neutrino Generator" and other fun articles . . .

12:02 PM  
Blogger Lois Laine said...

Very amusing. I will be bookmarking your blog.

I'm from Jersey, but was in Anchorage about a year and a half ago. Loved it! Can't wait to go back! In summer, of course.

Happy Holidays!

1:20 PM  
Blogger Duck Hunter said...

Hey John,

Didn't have a chance to comment on this post yet. Just wanted to say I thought this was a great idea for a New Years post.

Great job. I thought about stealing the idea for my blog but gave up when I realized how much work it was.

2:06 PM  

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